One of the first major tests for the new GOP House leadership will be about committee assignments, especially who will chair the committees. This will be very telling if there is any truth in what Obama said during the campaign about Rs having no new ideas forward and just return to how things were in 2005.
Chairing a House committee is one of the most powerful positions in Congress. The committee chairs must be able to articulate to liberal reporters the plans they have for the committee. Traps are going to be set for them to fall into. They need to know how to avoid these traps. James L. Payne wrote a very excellent article, Conservatives and the Trap of “Liberalism Lite”. All elected conservative Republicans should read this article. an excerpt:
Reporter: Maybe government could tax just wealthy people?
Elected Republican: Let me tell you about wealthy people. You know that Episcopal scholarship program I mentioned. Last year, that program received a donation of $50,000 from a very generous person in my district-I won’t mention her name because it would embarrass her. Now, does it make any sense for government to tax her money away, and cycle it through the Treasury, and Congress, and congressional committees, and federal and state early childhood bureaucracies to give some of it to preschools? Does that make sense?
Reporter: Uh. . . You make an interesting point.
As this illustration makes clear, in order to exalt the private sector, you have to know a lot about it. Legislators, and their staffs, need to gather specific examples and compile data, and they cannot do this by staying inside the Beltway and studying reports of government administrators.
This text in bold illustrates why I want chairs to be rewarded based on merit instead of seniority of time served in the House. Those who have not served in the House forever are likely to know a lot more about the private sector. The Wall Street Journal has an article suggesting who the new chairmen will be in 2011.
The ones I like on the list include:
Veterans Affairs Jeff Miller October 16, 2001-present
Small Business Sam Graves January 3, 2001-present
Oversight Darrell Issa January 3, 2001-present
Ethics Jo Bonner January 3, 2003-present
Education and Labor John Kline January 3, 2003-present
Budget Paul Ryan January 3, 1999-present
Intelligence Mike Rogers January 3, 2001-present
I am not thrilled with the 20+ years in the House picks for the other committee chairs. I have seen news stories about House members vying for a chair who I like.
Financial Services Ed Royce January 3, 2003-present
Energy and Commerce John Shimkus January 3, 2003-present
The hardest task for the GOP House leadership will be the selection for the Chair of the Appropriations Committee that does not anger the conservative Tea Party members. Here is my suggestion, but I have seen nothing in the news to indicate he is interested.
Appropriations John Culberson January 3, 2001-present
I expect to be disappointed to a certain degree when the smoke clears and all of the Chairs of these committees are determined. In any case the Republicans in the House are on probation to prove they have learned the lesson of losing their way. Some of these elected House GOP members can expect to be disappointed in 2012 if they fail to govern the way that we want them to govern.
Cross-posted at The Minority Report